Medicare 101: Get the Most from Government Healthcare as a Senior

Medicare is the main government-facilitated health insurance program for U.S. residents 65 years and older. Medicare is also available for people younger than 65 under certain conditions. The concept of Medicare is simple but the program itself is comprehensive. Therefore, it is important to know how to get the most from Medicare once you are eligible.

Medicare consists of four major coverage parts. Understanding all the basic Medicare requirements and how to apply for Medicare online are important steps to receiving the full benefits available. Read on for important information about Medicare requirements and how to get the most from your health insurance today.

Know the Basic Requirements to Get Free or Low-Cost Medicare for Seniors
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Understanding the basic Medicare requirements helps you maximize your government-sponsored healthcare benefits. Medicare is available for U.S. senior citizens age sixty-five and older. It is also available to certain U.S. residents with qualified medical, physical or mental disabilities regardless of age. Medicare plans consist of parts A, B, C and D. 

Medicare Parts A and B are often collectively referred to as Original Medicare. Original Medicare was established in 1965, while Part C was enacted in 1999 and Part D created in 2006.

People who paid taxes during their working years are automatically enrolled in Medicare upon turning sixty-five years old. For these people Medicare Part A is free. 

U.S. residents having worked Railroad jobs and receiving Railroad retirement benefits are also automatically qualified for Medicare. The spouses of all people qualified for Medicare are also potentially eligible once qualifying criteria is verified. What are the basic Medicare requirements for people under sixty-five years old?

U.S. residents who worked Railroad jobs and received Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for twenty-four months or longer are granted free Medicare Part A coverage. The same is true for people who received Social Security benefits for twenty-four months or longer, people with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).

Each of the Medicare plans have specific enrollment periods each year. 

Medicare Parts B, C and D have additional requirements and are not free plans. The costs of Medicare Parts B, C and D depend on a variety of factors including income level and qualifying disabilities. Qualifying for Part C requires being eligible for and enrolled in Parts A and B. Signing up during the specified enrollment periods is not required, although financial penalties are imposed when members eligible for Parts B and D choose to not enroll as encouraged. More details and information on the basic requirements and coverage features of Medicare Parts A, B, C and D are discussed below.

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